A community devoted to new service members and their families
By Wes O’Donnell
U.S. Army and Air Force Veteran, American Military University
Time is one of our most valuable commodities. Unlike other resources, time can never be replaced once it is lost. That’s why effective time management is essential for your success as a military student.
Good Time Management Starts with Recognizing Time Wasters and Setting Goals
First, take the time to recognize time wasters. In today’s information age, it is easy to lose several hours by browsing online.
Perform an inventory of how you use your time. Examine your daily schedule in detail and identify the holes. Not every minute of your day needs to be productive, but you will be amazed at how much time you waste every day.
Second, be a goal setter. Create realistic and attainable goals that will greatly eat into those areas of unfocused time during your day.
If you start with small goals that are easily achievable, you’ll get a mini-morale boost every time you complete a task. It’s a great springboard for setting larger goals and maximizing your daily productivity.
Use the SMART Model for Setting Your Goals
Using the SMART model is a good way to achieve success. Make sure that your goals are:
- Specific – Make the goal clear.
- Measurable – Determine how you will measure success in achieving your goal.
- Achievable – Make your goals attainable and reasonable.
- Realistic – Don’t set crazy expectations for yourself. Also, consider obstacles that may obstruct your ability to reach your goal.
- Time-Bound – Set a time or date limit for achieving your goal.
And finally, do the work! Prioritize assignments based on due date and make yourself a to-do list.
Try Different Study Locations
Be sure to come up with alternate study locations. You never know when an unexpected event will cause a distraction.
Take Study Breaks from Time to Time
Most importantly, remember to take study breaks. But be careful — don’t let a well-deserved break turn into procrastination.
In the unpredictable world of active-duty service, a well-planned time management strategy helps you reach your education goals. Focus on those aspects of your time that you have control over and use them to achieve the results you want.